Avivim school bus massacre

Avivim school bus massacre

The Avivim school bus massacre was a terrorist attack that took place in Israel on May 8, 1970 near Moshav Avivim on the border with Lebanon. Palestinian gunmen from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) attacked the town's school bus, killing twelve people, mostly children.

Early in the morning, the bus departed from Avivim heading with its passengers to two local schools, as it did every morning following the same route. This route had secretly been scouted by the Palestinians in the weeks leading up to the assault, and a careful ambush was prepared. As the bus passed the ambush point, just ten minutes after leaving Avivim, it was attacked by heavy automatic gunfire from both sides of the road. The driver was amongst those hit in the initial barrage, as were the two other adults on board, all three being killed as the bus crashed into an embankment, the gunmen still firing into the vehicle.

By the time rescue parties from Avivim arrived, the assailants were gone, and it also took some time for ambulances and military vehicles to arrive, allowing the attackers time to escape, unfortunately failing to arrive in time to save some of the wounded children who died at the scene. In all nine children (aged between six and nine) and three adults, all civilians, were killed in the attack. Nineteen other children were seriously wounded by the gunfire.

The attack is often mentioned alongside the 1974 Ma'alot massacre, also carried out by the DFLP, in which 26 civilians, most of them high school students, were murdered.

The gunmen were believed to be operating from southern Lebanon, and it was the increasing volume and violence of attacks such as this which prompted Operation Litani, the Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon in 1978.

External links

* [http://www.partner.org.il/kavimut/news-0105-avivim.html The 31st anniversary commemoration & list of fatalities]

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